Right in the heart of Muskoka, Deerhurst Resort is a year-round retreat to Ontario’s famous cottage country. Deerhurst is a popular escape from the city’s bustle where families can find fun and adventure, and relax and retreat in Muskoka.
I headed with my two kids and my mom to enjoy and explore this beautiful family-friendly resort in Huntsville for a few days. How did we like our visit? We loved this gorgeous and fun Muskoka retreat for families and wished we could have stayed longer! The cherry on top was bumping into not one but two friends and their families who happened to be vacationing at the same time!
Here’s why Deerhurst Resort is the Most Fun Muskoka Retreat for Families.
The main Pavilion has the charm of Ontario’s iconic Muskoka region. The Compass restaurant features gorgeous murals of the Muskoka lakes spanning the walls of the restaurant. The high ceilings and fireplace invite you in, making you immediately feel connected to cottage country. Artwork by Canadian artists adorn the walls, and handcrafted pieces and sculptures are displayed throughout the Pavilion.
There are several types of accommodations to choose from; hotel rooms and suites located in the main building where all the restaurants (except the steakhouse) are located. The rooms at Bayshore are conveniently located right at the beach offering an excellent view of the lake and steps from the waterfront activities. There are also Resort Homes and vacation rentals with kitchens or kitchenettes, dining areas, and living rooms with fireplace.
The resort also hosts weddings and conferences so you know that the resort can accommodate large groups.murals
Lakeside Lodge is perched on the site of Deerhurst’s original lodge built in 1896. This brand new accommodation building offers 1, 2 and 3 bedroom resort homes with cottage-inspired décor – ideal for a family retreat in Muskoka. Lakeside Lodge is a stunning addition to Deerhurst, offering a feel of luxury on the lake.
We stayed in a modern and spacious two-bedroom, two-bath condo equipped with a full kitchen, dining area, living room and a balcony with a stunning view of the lake and pool. The décor is modern/contemporary with a splash of Deerhurst charm; loved the Deerhurst pillows in the bedrooms, and the barn wood mantle and furniture.
One bedroom had a king-size bed with a full bathroom (shower and tub), and a TV with lake views, while the second bedroom had a queen-size bed. The main living area had a large comfortable sofa and two armchairs with a fireplace and a wall-mounted TV.
The condo features a modern, full-sized kitchen with stainless steel appliances – fridge, stove, dishwasher and microwave, as well as a kettle and coffeemaker. Cabinets are also stocked with drinking and wine glasses, dishes and cutlery. There is also a kitchen island with two bar stools and a dining table with six chairs.
There is plenty of space for a family, which separate rooms for privacy and downtime too! After a full day enjoying the resort amenities, my boys rested in one bedroom, my mom in the other, and I had the living area to myself. We also took full advantage of the balcony of our corner unit, which wrapped around slightly, offering beautiful views of the lake and pool.
The Lakeside Lodge does have an elevator, which is wonderful for travelling with kids (strollers) and grandparents; my mom recently had knee surgery so having accessibility was super important.
Pool, Lake Activities and Water Sports
Deerhurst Resort features an indoor swimming pool with a whirlpool and children’s wading pool, plus three seasonal outdoor pools located throughout the property. Seasonal pools are open July through mid-September. Guests are encouraged to bring their favourite beach towels, but if you forget (which can happen!), there are pool towels available for guest use.
Deerhurst offers a variety of waterfront fun featuring a newly expanded sandy beach, Splash Zone, water sports & boat rental centre. There’s also a beach area for swimming and plenty of chaise lounges and Muskoka chairs for relaxing.
Once you arrive, make your way to the Heritage Cottage Waterfront Shop where you can receive wristbands for the Splash Zone and towels.
Splash Zone is an inflatable waterpark on the lake, open July and August from 10-6 daily. The boys had an absolute blast playing on the inflatables, and I felt comfort in knowing they were wearing life jackets (mandatory) and lifeguards were on duty.
Also included in the nightly resort fee are canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks (late-May through early October). It’s first-come-first-served but even on a busy day (which it was during our mid-week visit), you didn’t have to wait for boats. The boys went on the kayaks a few times!
There are also other activities available for purchase including water skiing, wakeboarding, jet ski rentals, tubing, flyboarding and the Cable Park.
The new pool at Lakeside Lodge has beautiful views and sits right by the lake. The pool is shallow (no diving allowed), and there is a lifeguard on deck. My boys enjoyed swimming and switched from the lake to the pool throughout the day. I enjoyed lounging by the pool, and taking a few dips – the weather was so hot! There is also a hot tub.
I would’ve loved to see a few umbrellas for shade by the pool; my mom can’t handle the sun for too long (neither can I really), and on a hot day, it’d be nice to have some shade. A poolside bar offering refreshing drinks would also be an amazing addition.
Even More Activities
There are many activities to choose from, so you’ll never hear “I’m bored” from the kids. Aside from the water activities included with the resort fee, there is also rock climbing, a toddler room with a play gym, and an arcade in the main building. There is also an Escape Room to enjoy with the family. After dinner, the boys enjoyed visiting the arcade and playing a life-size game of Pacman.
There are also a ton of scheduled activities throughout the week. Some activities require advance booking, some require payment. There are early morning guided paddles, sunset yoga, guided hikes to the lookout, arts and crafts, kitchen tours, family lawn games, boat cruises, campfires, kids fishing on the dock, and more.
For golfers, Deerhurst Highlands was named one of ScoreGolf’s top public courses in Canada again this year. Families wanting to connect with mature can head to on-site Stoneleigh Farms to go on horse rides on the trail or visit the petting farm.
Deerhurst also offers Amba Spa, a full-service spa which offers guests treatments, manicures and pedicures, couples’ massages, steam room and whirlpool. If I can manage a getaway with the girls, I am definitely going to treat myself to a treatment!
Deerhurst Resort has four restaurants to enjoy, and all have plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options.
Eclipse Restaurant has a breakfast and dinner buffet. I enjoyed the made-to-order omelette station at the breakfast buffet which also included fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage cereals and bread, fruit and pastries. The dinner buffet offers antipasto, salads, smoked fish, seafood, and meat entrees that change nightly.
Compass Bar & Grill offers a variety of tapas. I tried the Roasted Chicken Ballotine stuffed with quinoa, kale and goat cheese, along with sweet potato puree, roasted cauliflower and asparagus. It was delicious!
Maple Pub & Patio has your casual Canadian fare with burgers, pressed panini sandwiches and fresh salads. I tried the gluten-free pizza which was surprisingly delicious! The patio overlooks the lake with a lovely view of Lakeside Lodge and the golf course.
The Antler Steakhouse is not located in the main pavilion but just a few minutes away. We didn’t have an opportunity to dine here this visit – hopefully next time.
I’d recommend staying at least three nights; two nights honestly wasn’t enough for us. With a 4:00 p.m. check-in and an 11:00 check-out, we really only were able to enjoy a full day-and-a-half. While we came early and left late so we could enjoy the pool and lake a little longer, it would’ve been nice to have an extra day to try some of the other activities the resort has to offer.
If you need a spot in the shade, I’d suggest you secure some lounge chairs under a tree by the lake early. The lake and pool get super busy in the summertime and might have trouble finding a spot.
If you plan on visiting, pack some bug spray, especially if you plan to sit by the lake at night. Even from our fourth-floor balcony, the mosquitos managed to be a nuisance!
Bring a few beach towels from home, and don’t forget goggles! It might also be a good idea if kids wore swim shoes on the inflatables to give their feet better grip. By the time we left, the boys formed blisters on their feet from all the climbing!
Disclosure: We received a complimentary visit at Deerhurst Resort, in exchange for our honest review. As always, the opinions expressed herein are my own.